Heart Disease in Women

Published On 07/11/2011

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in women and it is the most preventable cause of death. Although the onset of heart disease typically occurs later in age, the disease claims more lives of women than of men. Given the aging population, it is estimated that the impact of heart disease on women will reach epidemic proportions over the next ten years. The prevalence of heart disease in women in Tennessee is 4.1 percent compared with the U.S. average of 3.2 percent.

Angina is more common in women (4.1 million vs. 2.5 million in men) due to micro-vascular CAD. Coronary artery disease (CAD) can be fatal due in part to women’s smaller coronary vessels with more diffuse atherosclerosis, stiffer aortas due to fibrosis and remodeling, and micro-vessels that are frequently more dysfunctional. Angina is often associated with a considerable reduction in increased morbidity and decrease in quality of life.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease in Women

  • Smoking
  • Lipid levels
  • Hypertension
  • Diabetes
  • Abdominal obesity
  • Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30%
  • Physical inactivity
  • History of preeclampsia
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Early menopause Age (45-54)

Select factors have a more significant impact in women. Higher heart disease mortality is associated with women with the onset of early menopause (ages 45-54). Additionally, 41% of women have at least 1 risk factor compared with 26% of men.

To find a cardiologist in Memphis, Tennessee that specializes in treating heart disease in women, please use our physician locator or call 888.777.5959.